Ottawa 'bloodmobile' service up in air after fire

Canadian Blood Services said Monday it will step back and assess whether to replace a 'bloodmobile' trailer that was destroyed in a fire Saturday.
Destruction of trailer in fire takes away convenient venue for people to donate blood. 2:14

Canadian Blood Services said Monday it will step back and assess whether to replace a 'bloodmobile' trailer destroyed in a fire Saturday.

An electrical failure is believed to be the cause of the fire, which happened at warehouse near 125 Colonnade Road South just after 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Ottawa fire officials said they got calls about smoke and flames at the warehouse and had the fire under control within an hour. However, an estimated $1.1 million damage was done to the trailer, another vehicle and the building itself.

The loss of the trailer won't likely have an impact on the national inventory of blood, according to Canadian Blood Services director of donor relations Pamela Mullins.

The trailer has been in Ottawa for the last two years, going out four to five times a week and collecting 45 units of blood per visit, said Mullins.

Ottawa fire officials say an electrical issue in this trailer, a Canadian Blood Services "bloodmobile", is the suspected cause of a $1.1 million warehouse fire Saturday, July 26, 2014. (Scott Stilborn/Ottawa Fire Services)
But she said Canadian Blood Services has yet to make a decision on replacing the vehicle.

Appointments in process of being scheduled

"We need to step back and see what has gone on and assess where we go from here," she said.

Randy Harris, a regular blood donor, has donated at the bloodmobile as recently as two months ago in Orleans. He said the fire is a loss for donors looking for convenience.

"I think it's terrible. I just hope it doesn't take too long to get another vehicle," said Harris.

Donor appointments scheduled for this week are in the process of being rescheduled. Mullins said donors who need to reschedule should call them at 1-888-236-6283.

Ottawa fire services spokesman Marc Messier said the fire began after the driver turned the light switch on.

"Not long after he could smell smoke and witnesses saw sparks coming from one of the electrical outlets," he said.

There were no injuries reported.

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